Listen Wider Challenge 2020

I’ve long been inspired by Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, which I’ve now participated in several times. The goal of the challenge is to expand your reading habits and (hopefully) thereby your worldview. People also get into the social-ness of it and make suggestions on Goodreads and via the #ReadHarder hashtag on social media, which is fun too.

I’ve long wished there was something similar to get us to listen wider, and it so happened that there was some discussion about this on Twitter just as I was ordering my first books for #ReadHarder 2020:

NB because there has been some confusion: this isn’t my tweet, just the location of one of the bigger discussions I saw about horizon-broadening.

Maybe this exists somewhere else already and I missed it, but I finally got around to putting something together for myself—and let’s face it, I’m really just going to totally shamelessly steal the Read Harder concept and call it #ListenWider.

You can decide entirely for yourself what counts for each challenge—that will be part of the fun. Hit me up on Twitter as you go, tout your wares/performances if your music fits one of the challenges, and if you want, post your list when you’re done! I’ll enter everyone who finishes it into a raffle to win…I dunno, some duck swag to be determined at a future date (DMs are open if you don’t want to publish). Other than that, nobody is keeping score. So have fun, and listen wider.

The Challenges!

Listen to:

  1. A composition of 60 minutes or more in length by a woman or non-binary composer
  2. A country song released in the last 6 months
  3. A chamber piece for 7-12 players written since 1980
  4. The cast recording of a musical featuring a queer character
  5. A miniature composition under 90 seconds long
  6. An opera with a libretto by an author of color
  7. A track by a Native/First Nations/Indigenous hip-hop artist
  8. A work by a student composer
  9. A work from a religious/spiritual tradition other than your own
  10. A composition that won a major award in 2018 or 2019
  11. A classic rock album from the 1960s or 1970s you feel like you should have listened to in its entirety by now, but never have
  12. A piece by a composer from Central or South America
  13. A campaign song for each of the opposing candidates in any election, current or historical
  14. A composition written when the composer was older than age 80
  15. A piece notated using graphic notation
  16. An instrumental work from before 1750 written by a woman
  17. A piece specifically for children by a composer or songwriter who usually writes for adults
  18. A top hit from the year you were born—from a country other than your own
  19. Two different tracks that sample the same song
  20. A song sung by two or more siblings
  21. The soundtrack for a film in a language other than English
  22. An art music composition (broadly defined) that received its premiere in an African country
  23. A classical recording from an independent label
  24. A record by a winning Eurovision Song Contest performer other than their competition song
  25. A protest song by a songwriter who identifies as LGBTQIA+
  26. A song or piece written to memorialize victims of a natural disaster
  27. A song by an artist currently atop Billboard’s “Social 50” chart
  28. A concerto for tuba, bassoon, or double bass
  29. A jazz album recorded since 2015
  30. A song written by or from the perspective of an immigrant

Image credit: Ky